Event Organisers Update December 2016 ISSUE 147 - an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO).

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Event Organisers Update

The newsletter for organisers of events.


Look's like the old Overpayment scam is working its way into the events industry.

We are grateful to reader Cindy-Michelle Waterfield of iwantaspeaker.com for her update of how it is being operated, and how the old adage that "If it's too good to be true it probably is" is such a good and true one.

For event organisers it has started with an email from a "film company" (Stoneway Films is one name the scammers have used, but there'll be lots of others) claiming to want to organise a public showing of a film they've made. After getting a quote they direct the unsuspecting organiser to a "speaker agency" ( Walsh Talent and Management, the scammers again) they want used and then send a large cheque, or make a direct payment to the organiser's bank covering the fee charged and the cost of the speakers, asking the organiser to pay the speaker agency from the funds sent, and keep the balance.. Those who do on the basis that they can see the money in their account, and in most cases the amounts are £20,000+, then find that the cheque is dud/stolen, or the payment doesn't go through, and the film company and speaker agency don't exist. The scammers have exploited the few days it takes the banks to find out the large payment is fraudulent.

The same scam is being worked on photographers and film-makers offered a lucrative contract to photograph or film an event. This one is termed the Dubai Overpayment Scam as the emails setting it up have come from an "event organiser" in Dubai called Max Events (etc, etc) and a contact called Ali Farid (or Abdul Kazari, or Mustapha Sukka, etc, etc) And wedding planners report the scam from a "John Frederick" for his wedding. Anyone advertising an expensive item for sale can also be caught with this, as a man selling a motorbike was a few years back when he was sent a (dud) cheque to cover the cost of the bike and the shipping costs to send it abroad and asked to pay the difference to the "shippers" (scammers), which, sadly, he did.

The only way to curb this is to make sure that everyone knows how the fraud works, so that they can be on their guard and not get hurt. Remember the Nigerian 419 Advance Payment scam whereby someone in Nigeria was said to be looking to launder millions through someone's bank account, and pay the lucky person selected a fat fee, also millions, for the service? Those caught by their own greed were then soaked for lots of thousands for "smoothing the deal along", and/or had their bank accounts cleared by the Nigerians.

Apparently a few people every year still get conned with this one .Remember, when it's too good to be true KNOWLEDGE IS ALL.


More than 35 bodies have been recovered from the ramshackle Ghost Ship warehouse venue in Oakland, California after a blaze swept through the building on December 2 while a party was being held there.

No cause of the fire has yet been found but it is known that the venue was not fitted with smoke detectors or a working sprinkler system and had never been inspected for fire safety by Oakland's Fire department, which is currently understaffed, with 63 job vacancies unfilled.


Eleven people died and more than 70 were injured when a major fire started in the ground floor kitchen of the luxury Regent Plaza Hotel, Karachi, Pakistan on December 5.

Most deaths were from smoke inhalation and most were trapped on upper floors, with many who survived having to hang knotted bedsheets out of the windows of their rooms and climb down.

Most of Pakistans buildings have sub-standard fire safety and it has been reported that the hotel did not have any emergency exits.


Diners looking to try the three Michelin starred food at Mayfair restaurant Le Gavroche in 2017 could well rue the day they go if it's after the end of January.

This is when the 13% service charge levied by owner Michel Roux Jr (56) ceases to be discretionary and becomes compulsory, with Roux regarding it as revenue, rather than a payment to share between his staff, and pocketing the lot, in the same way that some cheap chain restaurants do.

Roux was in trouble a few weeks back when it emerged that some of his kitchen staff, including chefs, were being paid below the minimum wage, an aspect Roux apologised for but claimed, through an anonymous spokesperson that his staff shared in the 13% added to the bills. A few days later the spokesperson revealed that in fact Roux keeps it all. Roux has now been accused of misleading diners into believing that the £27.56 they pay on their £212 bill goes to his hard-working staff.

Since the negative publicity Roux hasn't helped himself by stating on his website that "all our staff are receiving the correct salary" without elaborating, but instead waffling on about the primary importance of the welfare of his staff, the "fabulous dining experience" provided and his meal ticket being "a great place to work", all beautifully crafted by his PR.

It will be interesting to see how Roux's regular diners take this latest news of the mandatory service charge their host is pocketing. Previously they could ask for the discretionary service charge to be removed and tip the staff directly in cash, to whatever level they thought the service was worth.


The £44million 8,000 seat York Stadium is set to suffer more delays in completion after IGS, its main contractor pulled out citing delays due to an official review and increasing cost pressures as reasons. (The Business Desk)

The City of York council say they are "fully committed" to the stadium which, when built, will include a 13-screen cinema and provide a home for York City FC and the York City Knoghts rugby club.


Registration company Eventbrite have published a list of ten things that event managers can never get right for all their delegates.

These are the level of the content, the amount of activity, the amount (or not) of communication, the location, the price, the catering, the starting/finishing times, the number of delegates, the volume of the AV and the temperature in the room.

Another, remembered by the writer was his idea of putting tables in the middle of the exhibition area stacked with brochures from the exhibitors that visitors (their buyers) could pick up. Most exhibitors were grateful for the extra exposure but one complained that visitors were able to take his brochures without coming to his stand. Fair point or nit-pick?


A shift manager in his 30s has been sacked from the 3-star Best Western Walworth Castle Hotel, Darlington, County Durham after a young woman staying at the hotel in October complained that he had peered through the bathroom window of her ground-floor room as she stood there naked.

Sales representative and married mother of two Clare Day, 27, said that the manager, who had checked her in that day and had tried to start a conversation with her earlier that evening, had his face pressed against the window outside, leering at her until she screamed and covered up. Staff at the hotel advised her to lock her door and report the incident the next morning, which she did, jamming the wardrobe against the door for extra security. Police examined CCTV footage and cautioned the manager, who they said had no previous record, for voyeurism.

Ms Day, who said she felt "objectified" was given the night's accommodation free. She told the press: "I want to expose what happened to make it clear that this is a sick and unacceptable abuse of power and I would urge any other victims of a similar crime to come forward".

And probably not a good idea to stand naked in view of a ground floor window, without pulling the blinds or curtains, some might also say.


Creepy it is, and eerie, disturbing, macabre and surreal, just some of the descriptions of the latest psychological thriller from Japanese director and horror genre specialist Kiyoshi Kurosawa, whose technique has been compared to that of the late and great Stanley Kubrick.

The story centres around a detective, Takakura, who leaves his city job and retires following a very nasty stabbing with a fork of an innocent bystander by a multiple murder suspect in police custody, a shocker that viewers witness Now a university lecturer in criminal psychology with a young and demure wife, Yasuko, and living in the quiet suburbs of a quiet suburban town where neighbours ignore each other, his old detective instincts are stimulated when a former colleague tells him about the unsolved disappearance of a whole family from nearby six years ago, a case the police have closed the file on. Meanwhile his well-meaning and good-hearted wife is getting to know his very strange neighbour, Mr Nishimo, who looks like he might well be the killer her husband is searching for, and who has a pretty young daughter, Mio, who ramps up the tension when she tells Takakura that her "father" is a total stranger.

Creepy is more suspenseful than gory horrific, though there are some nasty moments that will make you jump, as well as cheer as retribution finally arrives. It's very well acted too with Teruyuki Kagawa satisfyingly skin-crawling shuddery as Mr Nishimo, Hidetoshi Nishijima as the dogged detective, Yuko Takeuchi as his sweet and trusting wife and Ryoko Fujino as Nishimo's unfathomable daughter, until the denouement. Creepy, made in 2016 and screened to the press in late November, is being released in cinemas, and on digital HD on November 25 by Eureka Entertainment.


January 23-25 2017 Great Hospitality Show NEC Birmingham

January 28 2017 Excursions Alexandra Palace, London

February 22-23 2017 Business Travel Show Olympia, London

April 12-13 2017 Venue Expo EICC Edinburgh


Reassuring to note that even the big beasts of the events sector can make basic mistakes in their communication.

A recent press release from Reed Exhibitions, one of the biggest with 500+ events in 30 countries bringing together 7 million participants, told 150 editors about their acquisition of Imbibe Media, who run a good magazine on all things quaffable and an equally good exhibition where journalists can imbibe samples to their heart's content.

Sadly for Reed their press release went out to every editor displaying the emails of all the others, 150 of them, a function of hitting the cc (carbon copy) instruction instead of the bcc (blind carbon copy) one, giving anyone who should want it a jolly good free press list for the sector. Like we say, reassuring.


Meanwhile the fabled Dorchester Hotel is generating some bad publicity for itself on account of a list of warnings about personal hygiene and appearance the management there ill-advisedly emailed to all their female employees.

Many were shocked and offended to be told that "body odour will not be tolerated" and nor will "bad breath" Apparently ladies legs have to be shaven at all times, even if wearing tights, hair visible on other parts of the body, including the face is also a no-no, as is "oily skin", chipped nails and "garish" make up.

Doesn't seem very intelligent of the management to portray its female staff in this way, and someone should tell them.


A recent email from Railcard selling a range of Christmas treats amused us, asking "What memories will you create this Christmas".

The disruption of strikes seems to be the Christmas memories our kind railway folk want us to treasure this year.


o Big fans of sushi and sashimi, like the writer, will want to know about the unlimited dinner deal being offered at Japanese restaurant Koto ll, at the Grange City Hotel, Coopers Row, near Tower Hill in London EC3.

For £17.95 diners can sit at the kaiten conveyor belt and help themselves to all the sushi they can eat, along with two sashimi (raw fish fillets, no rice) dishes. Given that plates are priced from £3.50 to £4.75 one only needs to eat a few to make it financially good value, and those with big appetites for the cuisine will get a real bargain. Diners can also pay another £3 and get a miso soup (£3.95) and a selected hot dish, a choice of four different Gyoza grilled dumplings (£4.50 -£5.25) when we visited.

Good sushi needs to be seriously fresh and for this reason we opted to skip lunch and arrive at 5.00pm one Friday night, as soon as they opened. This was a good plan as we had the place, and a conveyor belt full, all to ourselves. We chose a salmon and an eel dish for our sashimi selection, and then got stuck in to the variety of nigri sushi - salmon, tuna, squid - on rice, (the perfect finger-food), the range of small rolls with salmon, tuna, radish and cucumber, the impressive offerings of more complex California and futomaki rolls with salmon, avocado and tuna and the very tasty and filling large inside-out rolls (uromaki) Just for interest, once stuffed after around an hour we cynically totted up how much our Japanese banquet would have cost us had we paid the plate prices and, (whisper it and don't tell The Grange) it came to £72.50, so the unlimited deal at £17.95 was definitely a good choice.

If they'll have us, we'll be back........


o Up in Liverpool we enjoyed our superior hot snack for the price of a cold sandwich at Ameiesko, Hatton Garden, in the business district.

Food here is International/American and they accept the Tastecard dining card for half-price food. We enjoyed the Eggs Benedict - two English muffins topped with sliced ham, fried eggs and a rich, creamy and tangy Hollandaise sauce -all for £3 instead of £6.They also have an English breakfast with 2 sausages, 2 slices of bacon, tomato, egg, hash browns and toast priced on the menu at £6, waffles with a variety of toppings at £6, toasted paninis at £5, a range of hot dogs from £5-6. pancakes with a large variety of savoury and sweet toppings, and a range of sandwiches (bacon or sausage £3.50)

Drinks, not included at half price include a range of coffees, teas and cocktails, and there's classic American music as background, and free Wi-Fi. Ameriesko also run quiz nights and other events and can be hired as a venue for your own event.

Tel 0151 236 6799 email hello@ameriesko.com Visit hello@ameriesko.com


o Possibly one of the few new rums folks can drink neat is Morant Bay Signature Edition Spiced Red Rum, launched in March last year and distilled in the UK with Jamaican ingredients.

It's a strong fruity drink with cherries, hibiscus flowers, sorrel, spices and starfruit giving it the distinctive taste and colour and balancing the 42% ABV kick of the blackstrap molasses (treacle) rum with a refreshing sweetness, making it a possible cocktail choice for lovers of those sweet and dangerous mojitos. Mixology suggestions pair it with such sweet and tart things as cherry and apricot brandies, port, cranberry, pineapple, apple, lime and orange juices and melon liqueur, though you can of course have fun making up and naming your own concoction for your event.

A 75cl bottle costs around £32, and our advice, before diluting it with ice and other additions, is to store it in the freezer and try it ice-cold and neat, with eyes closed and imagining a sun-drenched tropical beach, to get the full benefit.


o Those of us who are not wine experts and plump for the house wine in chain restaurants believing it to be the best value for money are being royally ripped off.

This is the message from a December article in the Daily Mail by Matthew Bell which revealed that 300 per cent mark-ups on the cheap wines are not uncommon, while on the better wines and even champagnes the difference between on-line prices and restaurant prices is much smaller.

Examples of cheap wines served in Strada, Ask, Cote and Cafe Rouge were given showing that wines costing £4 - £6 online were being sold at £16 - £20, while wines available online at £7 - £10 were often sold with lower mark-ups at £15 - £20, the lesson for diners being to research the prices of the wines they like and check the wine list prices before ordering. In fact in some instances the lowest mark-ups were on good fizzy and mid-market champagnes.

Restaurants are also wise to the "second lowest price syndrome" - whereby diners choosing wine will often pick the second cheapest, rather than the cheapest, so as not to appear stingy - and increase the mark-up on these.

Mark-ups in expensive hotel restaurants can go stratospheric. At London's Ritz it's 450% on a bottle of the House White (£9.95/£55) and 550% if you crave a rare vintage Bordeaux (£203/£1,250) and don't mind the needy Ritz taking more than £1,000 profit off you for a bottle.

For those readers who would rather buy savvy than silly there is now an app, Raisonable, which gives the retail prices for restaurant bottles, so cheers........


The SEO is carrying out an on-going survey to identify what criteria in venue selection are most important to event organisers from the corporate, association and charity sectors.

Results will be published in the Event Organisers Update, Charity Matters and Marketing Matters newsletters.

Click here to take our survey.


The events industry becomes a no-go area for scammers as all in it learn how the scams work, and keep up to date on new ones and new variations of old ones... Business at Le Gavroche drops off, and then picks up again as Roux wisely decides to share the 13% service charge he rakes in with his staff... Best Western introduce light-hearted Fright Night entertainments for guests with managers dressing and making up as Count Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, Freddie Kruger or zombies and peering through bedroom windows after dark... A group of Dorchester employees are sacked for having hairy legs, accusations hotly denied by the three men... and much, much more...



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Sizes, when printed out on an A4 page, and prices of ANNOUNCEMENT boxes available are:

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One half page, 120mm x 170mm £400

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This is published in every issue of Event Organisers Update and the cost to suppliers, based on a headline, forty words of text and contact details, is £95 for one year (twelve issues) or £65 for 6 months (six issues) Costs are being kept low to encourage small suppliers to participate.

If, as an organiser you know of any good suppliers you feel other organisers should know about please forward this issue on to them, or refer them to the SEO website at seoevent.co.uk




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The Society of Event Organisers, SEO, offers a four-day qualification course, the Certificate in Conference Organisation (CCO) running in Central London three times a year, and which can also be presented at your premesis - dates by arrangement. Contact Peter Cotterell Tel. 01767 312986, email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk visit seoevent.co.uk


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Association News
For all those who associate. associationnews.org.uk

Charity Matters
For those working in charities. ezinematters.com

Marketing Matters
For those working in marketing. ezinematters.com


LCI offers conferencing with an ethical edge in Leeds City Centre. Five Rooms (Max 90 people) with Smartboards, loop systems, WIFI. Disabled access. LCI supports community/voluntary groups by offering significant discounts. Very close to railway & bus stations. Contact Moira or Wendy on 0113 245 4700 or email conferencing@leedschurchinstitute.org


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The classical regency terrace at Park Crescent, near Regents Park includes number 16, which offers seven beautifully appointed meetings rooms, all with natural light and modern facilities, for up to 60 delegates, and a dedicated team to ensure event success. Tel. 020 7612 7070, Fax. 020 7612 7078, email. enquiries@16parkcrescent.co.uk visit 16parkcrescent.co.uk


The Society of Event Organisers, SEO, offers a four-day qualification course, the Certificate in Conference Venue Marketing (CCVM) running in Central London once a year, and which can also be presented at your premesis - dates by arrangement. Contact Peter Cotterell Tel. 01767 312986, email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk visit seoevent.co.uk

Event Organisers Update (EOU) is an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO). EOU is FREE and circulated monthly to more than 21,000 selected organisers and others interested in keeping abreast of development in the event industry (includes conferences, incentive travel, training events, etc.)

If you have any views on how our newsletter could be more useful to you please e-mail us at info@eou.org.uk

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